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How do you choose a Horn driver?

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How do you choose a Horn driver?

Postby mikehende » Mon Dec 30, 2019 3:35 pm

Hey guys, I had thought aside from quality brands of course that specs is what people used to make a decision on which driver to purchase. I had always thought that the higher the Hz number, that meant more highs.

Can you tell me if you wish to get a driver which will give you crisp powerful highs and you are looking online for a driver, what in the specs would you be looking for to make your decision please?
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Re: How do you choose a Horn driver?

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Dec 30, 2019 4:28 pm

You've put this in the recording forum but I imagine you are thinking of a passive PA rig rather than studio speakers? The range you need to get crisp, powerful highs is probably a lot lower than you think, most likely in the high midrange (say 1-4kHz) and, possibly, the lower end of the HF range (4-8kHZ) rather than the top octave of the HF range (10-20kHZ).

Try sweeping the eq over then high mids and HF range to identify the frequencies you think are weak.

I'd say the most important spec numbers would be efficiency, usually given as dB/1 watt @ 1 metre and max power handling which, together, give you the max SPL the driver can deliver. Most decent horns/drivers would be pretty flat over their usable range and, anyway, looking for a hump at a particular frequency is not very useful as you can more easily deal with that using eq.
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Re: How do you choose a Horn driver?

Postby mikehende » Mon Dec 30, 2019 5:16 pm

Yes sorry, for PA use.

Thanks but sorry Sam, I am still not understanding exactly what I would look for in a driver's specs. Can I trouble you to maybe do a small search for a driver online then tell me exactly "why" you chose that driver to give you powerful and crisp highs for like a Peavey MF1-X horn please?

https://i.postimg.cc/ZnjxtDRc/VINTAGE-P ... r-Pair.jpg
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Re: How do you choose a Horn driver?

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Dec 30, 2019 5:35 pm

Sorry Mike, not being obtuse but beyond what Ive suggested I can't really help as all my current PA speakers and all those I have used for the last 15 years have been powered so different parameters are relevant (Max SPL rather than watts of efficiency). Also I'm still not sure how to define "powerful and crisp highs", especially as those horns you link to are mid range horns not HF horns?

edit to add :-

If you are running a passive rig with separate power amps and speaker controller (DriveRack maybe) it is the way you set the system up that will make the difference* more than the specific brand of horn drivers you use.

*providing the amps and speakers are reasonabley well matched to each other and the other parts of the rig.
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Re: How do you choose a Horn driver?

Postby zenguitar » Mon Dec 30, 2019 5:42 pm

Moved to the live sound forum.

Andy :beamup:
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Re: How do you choose a Horn driver?

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Dec 30, 2019 7:11 pm

Thanks Andy :thumbup:
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Re: How do you choose a Horn driver?

Postby mikehende » Mon Dec 30, 2019 7:14 pm

Yes, those horns are more for mid/high applications and yes I am aware of the SPL part. As mentioned I had thought one needed to rely on specs to make the decision, no worries, appreciate the help!
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Re: How do you choose a Horn driver?

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Dec 30, 2019 7:36 pm

You're welcome Mike. It's a common mistake people make that the frequencies that confer a great 'high end' are actually much lower than they think. As I said sweeping a parametric eq through the upper frequencies can be an eye opener.
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Re: How do you choose a Horn driver?

Postby blinddrew » Mon Dec 30, 2019 10:46 pm

Surely the other half of the question, is what are you partnering it with?
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Re: How do you choose a Horn driver?

Postby mikehende » Mon Dec 30, 2019 11:02 pm

I have Peavey SP2's which I use as full range but I wanted to try an experiment to run that horn with just a bass either reflex or folded horn like some of the 70s systems.
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Re: How do you choose a Horn driver?

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue Dec 31, 2019 11:19 am

That Peavey horn has a frequency response of around 800-10,000Hz peaking at around 1.8kHz so not much in the top octave and will need to crossover at around 1kHZ or higher. I'd say the horn was designed to be part of a four way system with sub and mid range driver to cover the 20-1k range and a HF horn for 10kHz+.

https://assets.peavey.com/literature/manuals/80301017.pdf
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Re: How do you choose a Horn driver?

Postby Wonks » Tue Dec 31, 2019 1:13 pm

Not if you read the Peavey data sheet you posted, Sam! They are looking at a 600Hz crossover and quoting a 600Hz-16kHz frequency range (but at -10dB points from the 1kHz value). So from the sheet it sounds as it was initially designed as the HF component of a two-driver system as they are talking about "bi-amping" (not tri-amping).

However the full-range input (as opposed to the crossover input) allows it to be used, when driven from an external crossover and separate power amps, as part of a 3-way system. Peavey called it the 'Project 2' and consisted of the MF1-X, the MB-2 for mids and the FH-1 for bass.

Image

The original MF1-X is a 70s design, and that Mk 3 data sheet is from 1989, so there are at least three possible variants on the MF1-X, with slightly differing specs (and the Mk 3 version certainly has increased power handling).
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Re: How do you choose a Horn driver?

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue Dec 31, 2019 1:33 pm

Thankfully things have moved on since the '70s. Though, TBH, a rig that did 20-12k would probably do me these days.....
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Re: How do you choose a Horn driver?

Postby James Perrett » Tue Dec 31, 2019 3:48 pm

I used to use those Peavey speakers from time to time but they weren't great. I'd say that they belong in the 1970's and, even in those days, there were probably better alternatives. The one good thing about them was that all the diaphragms and cones were field replaceable so, when they broke, you could fix them easily.
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Re: How do you choose a Horn driver?

Postby mikehende » Fri Jun 05, 2020 12:52 pm

Just clear one thing up for me please anyone.

I am not understanding why switching from a 22"x12" horn to a bigger 33" wide horn would not give more highs than the smaller version? Why in this case doesn't size matter or what's the purpose then of manufacturers building larger sized horns, it is because the larger the horn the more coverage you get but not more frequencies?

Even with tweeters a friend of mine has these larger than normal tweeters so why make the larger sized tweeters?
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